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EMPRESS'S FAVOURITE                         239

Tungpo had his revenge, the friend was forgiven and they had a hearty

rl together.

While he was acting as secretary to the Emperor, Su Tungpo was
often locked up during the night in the palace. There was a great
Admirer of his and an assiduous collector of his autographs who used
to give ten catties of mutton for every short note of Su's brought to
him by Su's secretary. The poet had learned of this. One day his secre-
tary asked for a reply to a friend's message, which Su gave orally. The
secretary came a second time, and Su said: "Haven't I told you
already?"                            f

man insists on a written reply," said his secretary.

your friend, no butchery today," was Su's answer.

In the Confucian Analects, there was a man by the name of Szema
Ox, bearing the same surname as Szerna Kuang. One day Tungpo
had had a hot argument with Szema Kuang on state policy and the
latter would not be convinced. Returning home, he threw his gown
on the couch and groaned to Chaoyun: "Szema Ox! Szema Ox!"

During these years Su Tungpo constantly developed in his state
papers the two ideas of "Independent thinking" and "impartiality" as
j?e prime requisites of a good minister. But independence of mind and
^impartiality of opinion were something that the party men heartily
disliked. One night after a good supper Su paced about the room, feel-
ing his belly with great satisfaction. He asked the women in the family
what they thought his belly contained. In the Chinese language, one
speaks of a "bellyful" of thoughts, feelings, scholarship, etc. One
woman replied: "Your belly is full oŁ ink." Another replied: "Your
belly is full of beautiful writing." To these answers, Su Tungpo said:
"No." Finally his clever concubine, Chaoyun, said: "Your belly is full
of unpopular ideas." "That's right!" the poet exclaimed, and he had
a good laugh.

Once an unknown scholar came to see Su Tungpo with a volume
of his verse and asked Su's opinion of it. The poor scholar read his
own composition aloud, intoning it very expressively, and was evidently
well satisfied with himself. "Now, what is your opinion of my humble
composition, Your Excellency?" he asked.

"One hundred marks," said Su.

The scholar's face beamed with pride. Then Su added: "Seventy
marks for your beautiful recital and thirty for the verse."